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Smashed Peas with Fresh Mint

written by Marsha Seidelman, M.D.

If you've ever planted mint, you know that it needs to be in a planter of its own, not in a bed with other plants.  It grows well so abundantly that it takes over everything else!  So if you're looking to use mint, try this recipe!  Lady Docs had a fundraiser this weekend for a wonderful program in DC through William Penn House, a Quaker organization, to support their urban gardening projects.  It was a potluck lunch hosted by Dr. Rajagopal on her farm, so vegetarian fare with fresh-picked ingredients was ideal.  Peas are a fairly good source of protein - for a vegetable.  There's about 5 grams of protein per serving in this dish.  If you keep frozen peas on hand, you can make this, or a similar version on the spur of the moment.

This is an adaption of one of Martha Stewart's recipes, just decreasing the oil a little and using vegetable instead of chicken broth.  

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium leek (8 ounces), white and pale-green parts only
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
6 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (about 3 medium)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more if you like it hot)
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

DIRECTIONS:

1) Quarter leek lengthwise, then slice crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Place leeks in a large bowl of cold water, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to rid them of dirt and sand. Lift leeks out of the water with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.

2) In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over low heat; add garlic, shallots, leeks, salt, and pepper. Cook until very soft but not browned, about 15 minutes. Add peas, raise heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until peas are heated through, 3 to 5 minutes.

3) Transfer the pea mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add broth and remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil; pulse until mixture is a coarse puree, about 12 pulses. Transfer half the puree to a medium bowl. Process the remaining half for 15 seconds, then combine with the coarsely pureed peas. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.

4) Transfer smashed peas to a serving dish. Stir in mint. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Martha Stewart NOTES:
When they're in season, use fresh peas instead of frozen ones. Cook them in salted boiling water for three to six minutes before adding them in step 2.

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